A crew works on the cleanup process in early February for a fire that destroyed the gymnasium at Lookingglass Elementary School in December 2016. Tentative plans call for the bulk of the work on a replacement gym to be completed by June 2018.

LOOKINGGLASS — A two-alarm blaze that leveled a historic gymnasium at Lookingglass Elementary in December 2016, was determined to be “accidental and most likely electrical in origin,” according to the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal on Friday.

Rich Hoover, public information officer for the state fire marshal’s office, did not elaborate further on the cause for the fire

To replace the destroyed gymnasium built in 1939, the Winston-Dillard School District expects the bulk of the work for the replacement gymnasium to be completed by June 2018.

A tentative site preparation date is set for mid-October.

“We are very excited to be working on this project and we believe the new building will provide an outstanding service to the community for many years to come,” WDSD Superintendent Kevin Miller said.

According to architect Trace Ward of Eugene’s gLAs Architects, the gym will be replaced with a pre-engineered 13,000-square-foot building. The new structure will have a metal exterior and will be located in approximately the same location as the old gym.

Miller added that the replacement structure will be a significant upgrade in terms of safety since it will meet modern building and fire codes. The new building will also be more efficient to operate because it will be equipped with modern technology such as heating and cooling.

The overall budget is still being determined by the insurance company based on required code upgrades, but Miller said the final number should reach about $4 million after soft costs for items like design are considered.

The HMK Company project management team from Salem and gLAs Architects are currently working to complete the bid packages for both the site work and the prefabricated metal building.

“The design phase is completed and the bid packages will go out probably next week,” Miller said. “Once we get the bids on the building, we will review the bids and award the project to the lowest bidder.”

According to the construction schedule on the school district’s website, actual building site prep work is scheduled to begin on Oct. 18 with a site prep completion date of Nov. 18. Foundation work is scheduled to begin around Dec. 7. The prefabricated metal building delivery date is scheduled for Jan. 15.

“These are approximate dates, but we are hoping to stay close to schedule,” Miller said.

Until construction is completed, the school will continue using the temporary modular building provided with funds from the school district’s insurance company.

The school district will provide updates about the project on its website at www.wdsd.org and on Facebook.

Reporter Vera Westbrook can be reached at 541-957-4216 or vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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Education and Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Vera Westbrook is the education, nonprofits, and arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4216 or by email at vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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